Evotec and Takeda enter strategic RNA targeting drug discovery and development alliance




Hamburg, Germany, 22 March 2021:
Evotec SE (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, MDAX/TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced that the Company has entered into a multi-RNA target alliance with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (“Takeda”) with the goal to discover and develop RNA targeting small molecule therapeutics for highly attractive targets that are difficult to address via more conventional approaches.

Evotec and Takeda will jointly identify and develop small molecules targeting a range of RNA targets aligned with Takeda’s research and development areas. The collaboration will leverage Evotec’s extensive RNA targeting platform to optimally identify promising RNA sequences to target with small molecule ligands that can be developed into potentially first-in-class therapeutics.

Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will receive significant research funding and will be eligible to receive discovery, pre-clinical, clinical, commercial and sales milestone payments of up to US$ 160 m per programme. Additionally, Evotec is entitled to tiered royalties on net sales of any products resulting from the collaboration.

Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “Many highly validated targets have proven to be intractable via conventional protein targeting approaches. For this reason, Evotec has been pioneering RNA targeting strategies and approaches for quite some time. We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Takeda in this field as both companies share the vision to jointly develop small molecule therapeutics against high value RNA targets that will deliver long awaited therapeutics.”

“Takeda recognizes targeting RNA with small molecules as a promising new modality that has tremendous potential for much needed medicines for patients through modulating historically undruggable targets”, said Dr Larry Hamann, Head, Drug Discovery Sciences, Takeda. “We are excited to be working with Evotec and their impressive capabilities.”

About Evotec’s RNA platform

The structure-based recognition of RNA tertiary structures by RNA-targeted small molecules (“rSM”) provides an alternative to sequence-based approaches, such as antisense oligonucleotides (“ASOs”). rSM approaches enable novel therapeutic potential by allowing to target highly conserved parts of RNA, creating pathways in cases where the encoded protein cannot be targeted conventionally, and unlocking the largely unexplored field of non-coding RNAs, which can also be disease drivers. 

Evotec’s proprietary RNA targeting platform is specifically designed to

  1. identify RNA tertiary structural elements where rSM are able to bind with sufficient selectivity and affinity,
  2. discover and develop suitable rSM binders that potentially deliver orally available drugs, and
  3. identify and deliver proof-of-target engagement for disease-relevant RNA structures, allowing biologically active rSM binders. 

Evotec’s cutting-edge RNA small molecule platform builds on the well-established drug discovery routes within Evotec and combines them with novel, highly innovative technologies such as third generation sequencing, sequencing-based structure elucidation of RNA molecules, which constitute a first-class expertise in this area.



Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502/NYSE: TAK) is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments, guided by our commitment to patients, our people and the planet. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Genetic and Hematology, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology (GI). We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. We are focusing on developing highly innovative medicines that contribute to making a difference in people’s lives by advancing the frontier of new treatment options and leveraging our enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline. Our employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients and to working with our partners in health care in approximately 80 countries. For more information, visit www.takeda.com.




Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.